Harvard Heart Letter

Fruit fights aortic aneurysms

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People who eat more than two servings of fruit each day have a 25% lower risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and a 43% lower risk of having a ruptured AAA than people who eat the least fruit, Swedish researchers report in the journal Circulation.

Dr. Otto Stackelberg of Stockholm's Karolinska Institute led a research team that analyzed data on over 80,000 men and women ages 46 to 84 at the start of the study. After 13 years, 1,086 of the study participants had developed an AAA, a life-threatening ballooning of the largest artery in the body. A burst or ruptured AAA is fatal unless immediately treated; 222 of the study participants suffered AAA rupture.

These events were far less likely in frequent fruit eaters. However, vegetable consumption—either in large, healthy amounts or in smaller-than-recommended amounts—had no apparent effect on AAA.

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